Young people with strong family ties and school support are more likely to stop bullies, according to new research.
The study, by researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina, was published online recently in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
The researchers drew data from 450 sixth-graders and 446 ninth-graders who were asked about their relationships with their family, friends and teachers. The children were given six scenarios depicting aggressive acts, which included physical abuse, social exclusion, cyberbullying and teasing.
The researchers found that students who reported ‘good family management’ or positive family relationships were more likely to deem aggressive behaviours and retaliation unacceptable. They were also more likely to intervene in either case.
"Sixth-graders were more likely than ninth-graders to find aggressive behaviors unacceptable and to intervene,” the study’s lead author, Kelly Lynn Mulvey - is an assistant professor of psychology at N.C. State – was quoted by UPI as saying.
“That suggests it's important to maintain anti-bullying efforts into high school -- which many places are already doing.”
The researchers also found that students who felt excluded or discriminated against by peers or teachers were less likely to stand up for victims of bullying.
“The study tells us that both home and school factors are important for recognizing bullying behavior as inappropriate, and taking steps to intervene,” Mulvey said.
“It highlights the value of positive school environments and good teachers, and the importance of family support, when it comes to addressing bullying.”